Cyber Monday Sales Will Top $2 Billion, Adobe Predicts

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It's going to be an e-com Christmas.
It's going to be an e-com Christmas.

Last year the Adobe Digital Index called for Cyber Monday to pass the $2 billion sales mark. The actual tally was $1.98 billion. But the 2013 Online Shopping Forecast that Adobe released today promises that the threshold will be crossed and then some this year, calling for an e-commerce tally of $2.27 billion.

Online retailers will continue to cut a higher holiday profile in 2013, the company predicts; this includes a 21% increase in Thanksgiving sales, to $1.1 billion, and a Black Friday rise of 17%, to $1.6 billion. The online gains will be made despite an estimated loss of $1.5 billion in overall retail sales due to a shortened holiday shopping season. Thanksgiving to Christmas spans only 27 days, versus 33 last year.

Adobe claims that 72% of visits to some 2,000 online retail sites traverse Adobe Analytics platforms, and it arrives at its predictions by analyzing and projecting trends from its past seven years of holiday shopping data. This year Adobe augmented the hard numbers with a survey of more than 2,000 consumers.

Holiday shoppers stick to the boundaries set for them by retailers, Adobe learned in its survey. “Three quarters of the market won't start shopping until Thanksgiving and Black Friday,” says Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst for the Adobe Digital Index. “Why do they wait? Why do they shop more online? Price. The retail industry has created these promotional moments that cause consumers to wait. People say they shop online to hunt for bargains. Retailers have created a very spiky shopping pattern and are beholden to a calendar they have no control over.”

Gaffney says that in Europe, where there's no Thanksgiving and where people generally begin their shopping a week later than in the U.S., holiday dollar sales tend to be stronger than in the States. “Apple and Google have been trying to export the idea of Black Friday to Europe, but overall it would be a negative,” Gaffney says.

Another trend pumping up online sales is what Gaffney calls “shopping on the sly”—making purchases on mobile phones while waiting on long Black Friday lines in brick-and-mortar stores. Some 40% of consumers told Adobe that they're apt to do that, and 28% said they'll rely more on mobile devices to make purchases this year.

Retailers that have optimized their websites for mobile display will benefit most from the increased activity. They will do 20% of their holiday business via mobile, a 47% increase over 2012. But the non-optimizers will still do well. Adobe predicts their mobile sales will rise by 40% and account for 14% of their total sales.

Adobe forecasts that only 2% of holiday purchases will be made via social media sites, but Gaffney says that sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest don't get credit for the role they play in purchase decisions. “Marketers look at the last click when assigning credit for sales,” she says. “Only 2% of purchases come directly through social, but 36% of consumers say they will turn to social when making purchase decision.”

Apparel and accessories figure to be the most-shopped category online, according to consumers surveyed. Next come books, music, videos, and toys and hobby items.

Click on the charts below to enlarge.


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